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Citing Sources

Why Cite

An important aspect of scholarship and creative effort is learning how to use other's works ethically and legally by citing sources and observing fair use. When you quote or paraphrase the idea of another person in a research paper, speech, or PowerPoint presentation, you should provide a proper citation in a bibliography or reference list. Otherwise you might be plagiarizing (using someone else's work without giving them credit--an honor code violation)

As stated in Go for the Gold Module 7, "Providing references for sources you used also lends credibility to your work, especially if you use authoritative sources." If you are still unsure after reading through the resources listed here, you might speak to a librarian to help clarify. To help you determine if your use is "Fair Use", please use the Fair Use Evaluator (the recommended tool at JMU for determining fair use).

What to Cite

Normally, in research and scholarship, we use other's writings and ideas--in quotes, or paraphrases. There are many tools that can help you understand how to do that, including those on JMU Libraries' Cite Your Sources page.

To use someone else's media (like a song, video, or image), you must also justify your use as being "fair use" or seek permission. You may usually use music, video, and images from public websites, like Youtube, in a face to face (F2F) presentations in a classroom. However, incorporating any media (including Youtube videos) into a fixed, tangible "presentation" or class site is less clear. (more) Regardless, you should still provide citations to give credit where credit is due.

Quoting from a public blog or other social network, like Facebook or Twitter, is no different than quoting from any web source. You should assess the use based on the four factors of Fair Use. (more)